Many years ago, when my children were little I heard Steve Green sing these words:
“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”
Those words stuck with me while we were raising our children, but I think that now, as a grandparent, they instruct me in the way I am to interact with my grandchildren. And the timing seems much more urgent. My oldest grandchild is almost five years old. In another eight years or so, her beliefs about God for the rest of her life will be pretty much established.
Eight years passes by with frightening speed.
So, what can we do to make sure that we leave footprints for them to follow?
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.
Sounds kind of scriptural, right? If our love for God is not real and strong and devoted, it won’t last and it won’t be obvious to our children. You know how it is – you can preach and preach to your family, but if they don’t see it modeled, you might as well preach to a rock.
I always think of Paul when I think of modeling the Christian faith. Everywhere he went he was genuine and unashamed of his love for the God who had changed him.
Just one example – read the words he wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy.
“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 1:12b-13
After Paul reminded Timothy of his own faith, he was able to instruct Timothy to listen to his words and to follow in his footsteps.
2. Keep your memories of God’s power in your life fresh.
We all have stories of what God has done in our lives – how He saved us; how He has provided for us; how He has made us strong enough for trials – all kinds of stories. The Israelites who were brought out of Egypt had stories too – stories that God expected them to tell to their children.
Take the crossing of the Red Sea, for example. If you had experienced such a thing – tons of water pushed back by an invisible hand, walking through the sea on dry land, and then watching your enemies destroyed when the waters were allowed to rush back – would you have had any doubts about the power of God?
“Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.”
And would you ever have stopped talking about what you had seen God do?
And yet they did stop talking about it.
And a generation grew up who didn’t even know the story. A generation who did not serve the one, true, living God.
God has given you stories and you need to be telling them to your family.
Pray for yourself to really know and love the one true God.
Pray that God would keep you faithful.
Pray that God would shine the light through you to your family and those around you.
Pray that those who come behind you would follow as Timothy followed his mentor, Paul, and his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.
Pray, remembering that it is God who is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in all of us.